Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 287

Biographical information provided by Briar Barry for the He Tohu exhibition:

Annie Reddon married John O’Kane in 1886. However, it was an unhappy marriage. In 1891 she applied for a deed of separation, alleging that her husband had deserted her and their two children, the youngest only a month old, and refused to pay any child support. In this instance the court saw in her favour. 

However, in 1895 a magistrate refused to grant Annie spousal support from her estranged husband, instead ordering her to return home or support herself. Annie chose to support herself, becoming a laundress. But this was not the end of her battle. In 1899 she applied for an order to protect her earnings from her husband and sought joint custody of her child. Annie’s battle shows the difficulty of life for women in unhappy marriages in the 1890s. 

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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'Annie O'Kane', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 6-Sep-2017

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